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Welcome to the forum! :-D

Cherry shrimps (unless you get all males) will soon provide a ton of movement for the bottom as they reproduce quite rapidly. You could easily give your students some at the end of the year.

Personally I feel that if you want a low maintenance tank, you should just stick with the cherries and snails. There aren't too many fish that would do well in a tank that size and most of the will try to make a snack out of the baby cherries. Most fish that would easily work in that tank are rather sensitive fish such as dwarf cories or mosquito rasbora and would require a little more maintenance. Oto catfish would be a possibility, tho.

Do you remineralize your water when you put it back in the tanks? Pure water like what comes from RO filters isn't good for fish. This is going to be especially true with snails and shrimps as they need minerals for their shells and exoskeletons.
 

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Hmm, I wasn't aware of the mineral problem with reverse osmosis. At my local aquarium store (pretty good reputation around here and privately owned and operated by an aquarium enthusiasts) they sell "aquarium water" thats been treated somehow and when I mentioned my RO filter the girl said "it's basically the same as the water we sell" and left it at that.

Would you recommend using normal tap and a dechlorinator? That would be easier as I've got three sinks in my room already, I'd have to lug the RO water from home. The only problem I see is that our local water is pretty notorious for being awful (hence owning a filter in the first place). Just try google-ing "Norman, Oklahoma water" to see the horror stories of articles about arsenic, chromium-6 and others in our water system. I don't drink the water and I'm not too keen on letting creatures live in it unless theres a surefire way to remove everything harmful without removing minerals. But if theres ways to add minerals back to RO water, maybe that would be best?
I think that girl meant is it's RO water that has been re-mineralized which is pretty easy to do. Some people like myself with really really soft water have to add minerals to our water for our plants and fish.

If your local water is that bad, then I would not use tap water. Shrimps are more sensitive to things like this than fish are. I use Seachem Equilibrium to re-mineralize my water as it not only helps the fish but the plants, too. It would be perfect for a planted tank. You only need a few grams to raise the mineral content in a tank like a 10 gal.
 

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I would recomned a Zig Zag Eel They are really cool I have one in my tank and he is verry personable. I also have a Raphiel Catfish I love but he only comes out at night. Glo fish are neet fish also...... I like to go to a non chain store to look for my fish you get a much broader selection at them.... Good luck though I wish the best for you!
A more common name for the zig zag eel is the tire track eel. In no way is this fish acceptable for a 10 gal tank. This fish will easily grow over 10 inches long. The same is true for a striped raphael catfish; unacceptable for a 10 gal because they grow over 6 inches long. Not to mention it will make a meal out of anything that can fit in its mouth.
 
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